Menu Innovations | May 2013 | By Jennifer Gregory

Coffee is King

Burger King ups its coffee game to compete with other players in the industry.

Burger King's new coffee beverages position the brand to compete with McDonalds.
Burger King introduced 10 new specialty beverages, including roast and iced coffees and lattes. burger king

Forget quick-serve mainstays like burgers and fries. These days, limited-service brands are looking to coffee to beef up business, and Burger King is the latest chain to get in on the action.

Burger King’s customers can now enjoy 10 new specialty drinks, including iced coffees in a variety of flavors, roast coffees with a 100 percent Latin American Arabica custom blend, and lattes in multiple flavors.

“Based on extensive consumer feedback and multimarket testing in a joint effort with our experienced partner, Seattle’s Best Coffee, Burger King is proud to launch its new proprietary blend and specialty coffee line to appeal to new and existing guests,” says Eric Hirschhorn, vice president of global innovation for Burger King Worldwide, in an e-mail to QSR.

Kathy Hayden, foodservice analyst at research firm Mintel, says specialty coffees and beverages have become standard at quick-serve restaurants, with Starbucks setting the standard and both McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts in the mix. “While Burger King has expanded its morning products over the past few years, it has only been able to reach a certain level without specialty coffees,” she says.

And even though it may have taken Burger King a while to expand its coffee lineup, it may still be possible for the brand to steal market share, she says.

“Because of the size and market penetration difference, Burger King’s specialty coffee offering will never be equivalent in terms of revenue to McDonald’s, but they can compete,” Hayden says. “Burger King has proven time and again that keeping up with [competitors’] menus is the best way for the brand to stay in the top three quick serves.”

To encourage customers to choose its coffee offerings over others in the industry, Hayden says, Burger King must offer unique flavors and seasonal offerings.


Burger King promoting coffee is similar to Dunkin Donuts promoting chicken and tuna sandwiches. While I very much understand the need for constant menu innovation, it's becoming very interesting to see brands stray so far from their core food category with such drastic menu items. Coffee and Donuts makes sense, burgers fries and coke makes sense, but it's hard to envision ordering a coffee and burger together.

I think the Seattle Best Coffee at Burger King is excellent!
It tastes great. especially because it's not strong or bitter.

Thank you!

I think the Seattle Best Coffee at Burger King is excellent!
It tastes great. especially because it's not strong or bitter.

Thank you!

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